Lesotho: Electoral system

Updated November 2006

Legal basis Constitution of Lesotho adopted 1993[1]. Amended 1996, 1997, 1998, 2001, 2003/4.
National Assembly Elections Order (1992). Amended 1997, February 2001, December 2001.
Local Government Act 1997
Local Government Elections Act 1997; amended 2004
Electoral system Parliamentary Elections: Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) system; 80 members are elected in first-past-the-post constituency elections, 40 by proportional representation[2].
Election period Parliamentary elections every 5 years[3].
Electoral institutions Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).
Director of Elections[4]
Functions of electoral institutions IEC: To conduct and supervise National Assembly and local government elections and referenda and ensure that they are free and fair, delimit constituencies, register voters and create a voters roll, promote knowledge of electoral processes, register political parties and adjudicate disputes.
Director: Executive arm of the IEC[5].
Independence of electoral institutions IEC: Members appointed by the King on the advice of the Council of State. Members may be removed for incompetence or misconduct by a tribunal selected by the Chief Justice[6].
Director: Appointed by the Commission and answerable to IEC. [7].
Demarcation The Independent Electoral Commission is responsible for constituency demarcation. There are 80 single member constituencies and 40 seats allocated on proportional representation in the National Assembly.
Voter registration Registration on the voters roll is compulsory. Continuous registration.
Eligible people are required to fill in an application form and show proof of identity, receives a voter card. Non-residents are not required to register[8].
Voter education The IEC is tasked by law to "promote knowledge of sound democratic electoral processes"[9].
Nomination of candidates National Assembly: Constituency candidates are nominated by means of a nomination paper endorsed by 2 voters registered in the constituency and the payment of a deposit; compensatory seat candidates are nominated through party lists[10].
Funding of political parties Small and equal amounts of public funding is made available to all registered parties for campaigns[11].
No limits are placed on the amount a candidate may receive or spend, but donations over certain amounts must be disclosed. After elections candidates must give account of all donations and monies spent[12].
Election campaign A code of conduct has been legislated for political parties[13]. Campaigning is restricted to two months ending 48 hours before polls open[14].
Communication The IEC has the authority to allocate time on public broadcast media, but paid advertising is prohibited[15]
Counting The counting of the vote by the Presiding Officer proceeds directly after the closing of polls in the presence of candidates, their election agents and party agents[16].
Announcement of results The Presiding Officer announces the results of the count inside and outside the polling station, ensures that they are sent to the returning officer and gives copies of the results to the candidates or their agents[17]. The Presiding officer seals up and sends all the ballots and voters rolls to the returning officer and all other documentation to the Director[18]. The returning officer counts the absentee ballots for the constituency, verifies the count of all the ballots and declares the results inside and outside the office and gives copies of the results to the candidates or their agents, posts the results publicly and sends the results to the Director. The IEC determines and declares the constituency results and allocates proportional representation seats within seven days of election day, publishes the results in the Gazette and informs the Speaker[19].
Conflict resolution The IEC appoints a tribunal to hear and rule on complaints. Election petitions against IEC decisions are heard by the Electoral Court during elections or the High Court at other times; no appeals may be made against it's decisions. Petitions must be submitted within 30 days of the end of the election period and the petition must be heard within 30 days of lodging[20].
Election monitoring Observers are accredited by the IEC[21].

Table notes

[1] Commonwealth Expert Team 2005.
[2] Constitution of Lesotho 1993, Articles 54, 67.
[3] Constitution of Lesotho 1993, Article 83(2).
[4] Constitution of Lesotho 1993, Article 66; National Assembly Election Order 1992, 9D(1).
[5] Constitution of Lesotho 1993, Article 66A(1); National Assembly Election Order 1992, 9D(3). A more detailed list of functions is laid out in the National Assembly Election Order 1992, 4.
[6] Constitution of Lesotho 1993, Article 66(10)-(13).
[7] National Assembly Election Order 1992, 9D(1)
[8] National Assembly Election Order 1992, 14-16.
[9] Constitution of Lesotho 1993, 66A. National Assembly Election Order 1992, 4(c) more explicitly tasks the IEC with promoting civic education.
[10] National Assembly Election Order 1992, 49-50.
[11] See Lesotho: Political party funding.
[12] National Assembly Election Order 1992, 47N, 93A.
[13] National Assembly Election Order 1992, Schedule 4 - Electoral Code of Conduct.
[14] National Assembly Election Order 1992, 47D.
[15] National Assembly Election Order 1992, 47K.
[16] National Assembly Election Order 1992, 83(1).
[17] National Assembly Election Order 1992, 83(9).
[18] National Assembly Election Order 1992, 84-91.
[19] National Assembly Election Order 1992, 93. The IEC may apply to the High Court for an extension on the seven days (93(1)(3).
[20] Constitution of Lesotho 1993, Article 69, 126A, 126B; National Assembly Election Order 1992, 4(kd), 7, 102(a), 104(4)(a).
[21] National Assembly Election Order 1992, 112G. Though no mention is made of a code of conduct for observers the law itself lays down a set of observer rights and duties (112I, J).

References

COMMONWEALTH EXPERT TEAM 2005 "Lesotho Local Government Elections", April 30, 5, [www] http://www.thecommonwealth.org/shared_asp_files/uploadedfiles/CC1B6EAE-E59C- 4434-8C1D-FB306E183908_LesothoCETFinalReport.pdf [PDF document, opens new window] (accessed 19 Feb 2010).

CONSTITUTION OF LESOTHO 1993, does not contain any amendments, [www] http://aceproject.org/regions-en/eisa/LS/Constitution%20of%20Lesotho%201993.pdf [PDF document, opens new window] (accessed 8 Mar 2010).

FIRST AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION ACT 1996, [www] http://aceproject.org/ ero-en/regions/africa/LS/First%20Amendment%20to%20the%20Constitution%20Act%201996.pdf [PDF document, opens new window] (accessed 8 Mar 2010).

SECOND AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION ACT 1997, [www] http://aceproject.org/ regions-en/eisa/LS/Second%20Amendment%20to%20the%20Constitution%20Act%201997.pdf [PDF document, opens new window] (accessed 8 Mar 2010).

THIRD AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION ACT 1998, [www] http://aceproject.org/ero- en/regions/africa/LS/Third%20Amendment%20to%20the%20Constitution%20Act%201997.pdf [PDF document, opens new window] (accessed 8 Mar 2010).

FOURTH AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION ACT 2001.

FIFTH AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION ACT 2004.

NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ELECTION ORDER 1992.

NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ELECTION (AMENDMENT) ACT 1997, [www] http://aceproject.org/ regions-en/eisa/LS/National%20Assembly%20Amendment%20Act%20%281997%29.pdf [PDF document, opens new window] (accessed 8 Mar 2010).

NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS (AMENDMENT) ACT 2001, [www] http://aceproject.org/ regions-en/eisa/LS/National%20Assembly%20Amendment%20Act%20%281997%29.pdf [PDF document, opens new window] (accessed 8 Mar 2010).

NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ELECTION (No 1) (AMENDMENT) ACT 2001, Lesotho Government Gazette Extraordinary, 46(105), 31 December.